THE JUDGE who sentenced the killers of eight people in a firebomb attack said he could not understand why they committed the crime.
At Leeds Crown Court, Mr Justice Andrew Smith heard mitigation for Shaied Iqbal, Nazar Hussain and Shakiel Shazad.
They, along with missing man Shahid Mohammed, 21, petrol- bombed 40 Osborne Road, Birkby, on May 12 last year.
Eight members of the Chishti family died in the resulting fire.
After a six-week trial Iqbal, 26, of Springdale Road, Thornton Lodge, got eight life sentences for murder and 14 years for conspiring to commit arson.
He received no sentence for conspiring to damage cars, which he admitted.
Hussain, 24, of Dryclough Road, Crosland Moor, and Shazad, 23, of Gledholt Road, Gledholt, both received eight 18 year sentences for manslaughter and 14 years for conspiring to commit arson.
Each received two years in jail after admitting conspiring to damage cars by fire.
All the sentences will run concurrently, including a 21-month term for violent disorder that Iqbal received for his role in bringing back Shahid Mohammed's sister, Shahida, from Newcastle in 2001, after she eloped.
It is thought Shahid Mohammed helped plan the firebombing to punish Muhammad Ateeq-ur-Rehman, 18, who he thought helped Shahida run away.
Sentencing Iqbal, the judge said: "I remain unable to fathom what led you to such cruelty."
He said Iqbal was a main instigator and he would recommend a minimum jail term, which would "reflect the ruthlessness with which you orchestrated and executed the design".
Passing sentence on Shazad and Hussain, the judge said: "These offences came very close to murder.
"Members of the Chishti family saw and heard their loved ones suffering in the fire. No decent person who heard their evidence would ever forget it."
He accepted that neither man meant to kill or injure anyone, but they played a full part in burning the house.
The judge said Hussain and Shazad would serve at last 12 years.